This past weekend, I spent many hours with youth football players that range from age 10 – 12 years old. My son is a youth player, and  I noticed at least six different NFL jerseys being worn by him and his teammates. This led me to wonder, who are kids’ favorite NFL quarterbacks today?

I was reminiscing about which athletes kids looked up to when I was 10 years-old. It was simple. Your favorite player was typically one of the stars on your favorite (usually hometown) team. Occasionally, a universal big name like Joe Montana would jump into the mix. However, many of the big Montana fans I knew growing up in New Jersey were then San Francisco 49ers fans. This was usually due to their admiration of Montana. I don’t see that to frequently be the case today.

It is not uncommon for kids to gravitate more towards specific players now as opposed to an overall team. There are two main reasons why I find this to be the modern way of fandom for youth today.

First is fantasy football. In fantasy football, you cheer for individual players. The team winning or losing doesn’t matter, the player on your team putting up big numbers does. It’s great for the NFL to have kids intently invested with so many games per week.

Second, players are digitally accessible. Meaning, you can engage differently with a player much more in our social media universe. Players share a glimpse into their lives and who they are off the field. The NFL as a league leaned into this a partnered with TikTok back in 2019 to give fans even more content.

Why Do Kids Select A Favorite Player?

It’s a question with many answers. 30 years ago I would have said, “I love Phil Simms because he is the New York Giants’ fearless leader.” I asked 30 local youth athletes this as a follow-up question upon them naming their favorite NFL quarterback. Often the answer was related to the Quarterback’s persona. Their style of play, their personality, and even their jersey number was mentioned.

So tallying up the 30 youth football players I asked, here are the kids’ favorite NFL quarterbacks that are active today.

  • #4 Jalen Hurts

    Hurts received 10% of the votes. A year ago, I don’t believe his name would have been mentioned. However, Hurts skyrocketed last year and brought the Philadelphia Eagles to the Super Bowl. He showcased a fast style of play where he could run just as well as he throws. Kids love someone who takes the media world by storm. Furthermore, Hurts wears #1, and this has become an increasingly popular jersey number.

     

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  • #3 Josh Allen

    Being on the cover of Madden certainly helps. Allen’s quaterback style is similar to Hurts’ in that he too can use his legs. Seven kids named Allen (who is not a huge force on social media) their favorite because of his character. He plays ever game like it’s his last. My neighbor said, “It feels like every game the is the Super Bowl when Allen is leading the Bills offense on a drive down the field.” It’s a fair point. Allen dives and scraps for every single yard, and the kids are seeing it and reacting to that.

  • #2 Joe Burrow

    “Joe Cool” is not his nickname, but it should be. Here’s a great example of TikTok and shorts influencing youth player today. My son still watches the clip of Burrow throwing a spinning 50-yard, no-look pass perfectly down the sideline, from warmup last season. Burrow has an edge. He has confidence. Furthermore, he’s as good as they come. Burrow is the modern quarterback who has the skill set of a historical, prototypical QB. His black, orange, and white jersey is also pretty Joe “cool.” He received eight votes.

  • #1 Patrick Mahomes

    #15 got the most votes with 12, and is the clear #1 among the group of kids that I spoke to. Mahomes is a brand unto himself. He has his own style of play. He is innovative and his coach Andy Reid allows him to implement plays that people have never seen run before. “Mahomes is just in another league,” my son said. “And he wins.” His two Super Bowl rings also sit beside his two MVP awards. “We see that what Mahomes does, actually works,” another youth player said. He has a valid point.

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